Tabon Skull Cap

tabon skull cap
Tabon Skull Cap | @museumxst0ries

The Tabon Skull Cap or Frontal Bone

In 1962, a team from the National Museum headed by Dr. Robert Fox started the archeological research in the Tabon Cave Complex, located at the northeast corner of Lipuun Point, Municipality of Quezon in Palawan. During the initial surveys, more than two hundred caves and rock shelters abundant with archaeological materials have been noted.

The Tabon skull cap or frontal bone has been dated 16,500 +/- 2,000 years before present (BP), associated with an assemblage of materials dated 23,000 +/- 1,000 BP. Excavated at depths of 85 to 115 centimeters from the cave floor, the material assemblage consisted of charcoal fragments, bones of birds, bats, and small mammals, flaked stone tools, basalt choppers, and hammers. Two fragments of human mandibles or jawbones, one dated 31,000 +/- 8000/-7,000 BP, were also found here.

Follow-up excavation in the Tabon Cave Complex in 2000 yielded an additional 11 human bone remains, including a right tibial shaft or shinbone fragment dated 47,000 + 11,0000/-10,000 BP. A recent analysis of these bones, along with those excavated in 1962, showed that two different populations inhabited Palawan during the Upper Pleistocene; one is small and gracile, and the other large and robust. Archeologists have speculated that the small and gracile remains are related to the Negrito groups.

This limited number of archeological data however could not support the presumed continuity between prehistoric settlers and present Negrito groups in the Philippines. Scholars and researchers agree that more studies have to be conducted and new methods developed to evaluate how archeological findings fit into the Negrito origin models of common descent or convergent evolution.

Reference: National Museum of the Philippines

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